The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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Adorabull Deb's picture
Adorabull Deb

I love this site!  After taking the lessons, I can FINALLY make decent bread. 

So now I'm experimenting.  I added one T. beet powder to my favorite white bread recipe. 

Can any of you breadheads* out there tell me why my beet bread isn't PINK in the center?  It isn't even white.  It's brown, like whole wheat!  Only the crust is PINK.  Here's a photo:

beet bread



*so called with much respect and admiration

Marni's picture

After seeing the fabulous Monkey Bread that Txfarmer posted about here, I had to try my own version.  I have to say that hers runs circles around mine- especially as far as the photography, but we enjoyed it.

Because we don't eat bacon ( I rarely eat any meat at all) I substituted a soy bacon.  It definitely is not the same.  Still, it was tasty, fun to make and looked great.  I'm sorry I don't have a pic of the finished product, I didn't have access to a camera at the time.  But here are some work in progress photos:



Chausiubao's picture

First of all, I'd like to say this:



Now that thats out of the way:

I've been taught that thats a textbook example of the improved mix. There's three mixes; the short mix, the improved mix, and the intensive mix. When you pull a window, the short mix tears easily, the improved mix has characteristic "veins" that run through it, and the intensive mix looks very even and opaque. This is how you can judge the crumb of your finished bread before you even divide the dough.

It'd be an understatement to say that I've learned a thing or two while working at the bakery, truth be told, I learned more in my interview with the owner of the bakery (an interview which was 5 hours on the bench of course,) then I did in the few weeks we spent on bread in school.

I wanted to showcase my bakery's breads and the title I wanted to give the blog was, "the soul of the bakery, its in the formulas" but the truth really doesn't reflect that. Formulas are the backbone of any bakery, but its melodies, subtleties, and nuances are what really define a bakery. We make this dough with three different kinds of levain in it. Thats a really unnecessary thing to do, and personally I have a notion that having the three different cultures all together might hinder the growth of the individual cultures since they'll be competing (a fight that the white levain will have an advantage in!). We create formulas, we calculate water temperatures, use our hands to tell us all the things about the dough that we should ever need to know, and we live bread. Or at least thats how it is meant to be. whether we actually reach (or want to reach) this lofty attitude of bread baking is debatable.

I like to think that as an artisan bakery, we bake bread as it has been made in past decades. This involves small ovens, a single mixer, couches, loading boards or peels, and hand shaping. But ultimately, how feasible and how practical is this arrangement? Bread bakers are the eccentrics in an already quite eccentric field. Moving into the culinary field is almost romanticized in our culture, yet many do it for reasons other then the love of the process. The man hours, the physicality, the odd work schedule, all of it pushes away possible bakers. On the other hand, when people need work, all of that diminishes in significance.

If we were to become a chain bakery (either privately owned or corporate) is this a business model that could be passed from store to store to store? Or are we a fad, living a fast, high octane experience that will ultimately and inevitably implode and collapse in on itself?

We definitely make good product, though there's always better; but is artisan baking a relic of the past or an unrealized future?


 Despite the high costs of labor and running an establishment based on perishable food stuffs, we continue to expand and put out good product. And the more I work and throw around thoughts about bread with my colleagues, the more ideas for my own bakery spring spontaneously into my mind.


hmcinorganic's picture

I watched some of the videos linked to from this site.  cool.  I know from my reading and experience that I tend to have bread that is not "wet" enough.  

Watching this video:, I am really amazed that this technique gives well kneaded bread.  What is it about this technique that works?  I don't see how the gluten can develop using this method!  Amazing.

I just made a new starter (pate fermente) for a french baguette, and I attempted to use this technique ( instead of my stand mixer to develop the dough.  it was difficult, but it really worked.  neat.

Someone asked for a picture on my last post.  Here is my latest effort.  I was very very pleased with how this one turned out!  I think I need to bake them longer for a deeper crust.  The crumb on this one is very even with teeny holes.  

half whole wheat baguette

knud's picture


Being a newbie I hope I am in the right forum.

When my bread comes out off the oven it has  a nice crispy crust,  after the bread has cooled down the crust goes soft

Any help will be appreciated

take care


txfarmer's picture

This is my first bread made from the "Bourke Street Bakery" book. The book introduces a basic white flour white starter dough, then add various ingredients to it. In this case, it's toasted hazelnuts (yum! I am on a hazelnut kick lately, can't get enough of it), a mixture of currants and raisins (I like that combo, it's better than just currants or raisins alone), and a bit of rye starter to add some tang. In the basic dough, the white starter ratio is fairly high, which is probably why the bulk rise was only 2 hours. The dough was then shaped and put in the fridge to proof overnight. The 2nd day, I took the dough out to room temp for 2 hours then baked with steam.

Fine, you caught me, I increased the amount of hazelnuts and dried fruits again. Fragrant, sweet with some sourness, addictive.

There are a few other flavor combos in the book just jumped out to me, such as Mr. Potatoe bread, spiced fruit loaf, etc. Other than breads, there are also a lot of delicious looking tarts/pies/cakes formulas in the book, can't wait to try them. Oh yeah, the book has metric measures, and pictures of each formula, both are what I look for in a good baking book.

I don't know whether any of you have noticed some changes in my pictures. A few weeks ago, Eric kindly reached out and offered to help me to learn digital photography. I have never been happy with my pictures, when he offered, I jumped on the chance. Lessons from such a knowledgable teacher, yeah! Since then we have gone through lessons and exercises on various aspects of digital photography. I discovered so many new functions on my digital camera (just a cheap point and shoot one) that it's like I have a whole new camera for free. During this whole time, I troubled Eric with endless questions and never ending stream of less than ideal practice shots, he has been very patient and direct, encouraging but never hesitates to point out what I did wrong and what to do to improve - exactly what I needed. My pictures are still a working progress, but Eric and several other TFLers have noticed some improvement, so I just want to take the opportunity to acknowlege my appreciation for Eric's help. The following are some shots of German style lye pretzels I baked last week, I am not happy with the pretzels yet, but the pictures are the best one I have ever taken!

Monkeyphish32081's picture

Well I had to throw out my sourdough starter again today because it was dead.  This is starting to get frusterating.  My first starter I was able to get a loaf out of and before I could test out another loaf, I wake up to find flies in the starter and the lid off!  ARG!!  So that same day, I start up a new batch and after a week, it smelled of mildew.  I am VERY determined to make it work this time...No matter what it takes. 

Jw's picture

I've been away from baking (took only time for lazy bread), so I started again with something simple (I thought): French bread 1 (Crust and Crumb, Peter Peinhart). I kind of recall that the proposed mix off all-purpose vs bread flour was not ideal for me, but I didn't find a note on that in my bread diary. I get my flour at a windmill, the flourtype (T) is not constant. I added flaxseed as an ingredient.


The result: taste is ok, not too strong. The looks: I have to get into the gaming of scoring again, couldn't find a proper (razor)knife. As for the holes: chopsticks! I do recall some Austrian breads with holes like these, so this is my variation on the recipe. I would expect a crumb with more holes. Anyway, could to be baking again!

Talking about French bread: check out these videos (if you haven't already..):


Smita's picture

A couple weekends worth of sourdough sandwich breads. Heres what we do:

1. Friday night (or morning, depending on room temperature) - feed starter with 2 oz each of water and AP flour. I use 8-hour two builds if possible, to get 8 oz of 100% hydration starter.

2. Saturday am - When the starter is ripe (bubble with fruity smell), add 12 oz flour and 8 oz water. Including 4 oz each of flour and water in the starter, this amounts to 16 oz flour and 12 oz water (75% hydration dough). We're flexible with the 12 oz of flour. Of the two loaves below, the top loaf was made with 5, 4 and 3 oz of whole wheat, white whole wheat and AP flour. The bottom loaf was made with 7 and 5 of whole wheat and white whole wheat flour respectively.

Notes: I store our flours in the freezer. I use the formula for desired dough temperature (DDT) to calculate water temperature.

3. Mix flour, water, 2 teaspoons gluten and starter - autolyse 30 minutes.

Note: I also added 1 tablespoon flax seeds to the bottom loaf.

4. Knead by hand for 10 minutes, till windowpane.

5. Rest, add salt and knead gently.

6. First rise for about 3 hours or till dough doubles. We did three stretch and folds for the top loaf. Went and got brunch while the bottom loaf was rising!

7. Deflate and roll real tight (such a lovely americanism) tp shape into sandwich loaf. Place in a greased 9 x 5 pan.A slightly smaller pan will give you a higher loaf. I don't worry too much about this.

8. Final proof for 3 hours or until it crests above the loaf pan. Note: We've also done overnight retards with good results.

9. Bake at 375 for 40 minutes. Internal temperature should read around 200 degrees F when done, the loaf should sound hollow.

Cool for an hour and slice. 



Taste and appearance: We have grown quite fond of this formula. The loaves have no butter / oil at all, and made for a perfect morning toast / sandwich bread. Sometimes, I will add a half cup of mashed potato or buttermilk, which tenderizes the loaf. These loaves showcase whole wheat - so if you enjoy whole wheat, this is a good recipe to try. IMHO, the critical steps were: 1) Working out 16:12 flour to water is a good size loaf for us, that resulted in the right crumb texture, 2) Knead till windowpane to coax gluten development in whole wheat, 3) I have to be flexible about rise times. Gotta run one's day by the dough's schedule and not vice-versa. If I add a teaspoon or less of yeast, I can cut down rising time to about 90-120 minutes. The best loaves we've made usually take 3-5 hours. I'm sure this will change as we apprach warmer weather.

Feel free to share your thoughts! All feedback welcome!



koloatree's picture

Greeting TFL,

Just logging another attempt at baguettes w/ pizza for the lost finale. These baguettes are underproofed because I was simply in a hurry to bake off the pizzas before 9pm. I followed the poolish baguette version from "Bread". I baked 2 baguettes at a time. I shaped the last bagutte (left)pair ~30 minutes before the first 2 baguettes were sceduled to finish baking.



I made this pizza dough this morning. Typically, I like to use poolish and/or retard overnight. I belive that gives the bread a nice golden caramel color. However, tasty nonetheless.






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